Bill Gates, to his troops, 2001-01-04 –
“Our most potent Operating System competitor is Linux and the phenomena around Open Source and free software. The same phenomena fuels competitors to all of our products. The ease of picking up Linux to learn it or to modify some piece of it is very attractive. The academic community, start up companies, foreign governments and many other constituencies are putting their best work into Linux”
That was written the year after I adopted GNU/Linux and he was right on all those points. I went from being a newbie to being able to do everything a teacher normally would do with that other OS in just a few days. The download took more time, 10 days of nights and weekends on dial-up… I replaced Lose ’95 on five old PCs in my classroom and never looked back. GNU/Linux was clearly superior to the software we were using on Macs and other PCs in the school.
Bill’s troops did respond by producing a better product but it took a decade or so to get “7” out of the chute while GNU/Linux kept getting better. Since that memo, MacOS and GNU/Linux have taken serious share from that other OS and now Android/Linux is doing even better. It looks like, for the foreseeable future, M$ and that other OS will be swarmed by competitors doing a great job of IT and continuing to take share. I don’t know where it will end but shares will be something like 1/N where N is a few will be the situation in a few years. M$ will have to compete on price/performance as will Apple. It’s all good. The world does not owe big software companies a living and the world can produce its own software with FLOSS.
I recommend Debian GNU/Linux for those who want to escape high licensing fees, slowing down, re-re-reboots, phoning home and malware while doing a better job of IT than Bill and his troops.